Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Cutting off Your Nose....
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, who promised during his campaign to fix TennCare, or end it, apparently chose the latter: Tenn. may dissolve state health care program:
Gov. Phil Bredesen announced Wednesday that the state plans to dissolve TennCare, cutting up to 430,000 people from the financially troubled supplemental Medicaid program barring a last-minute reprieve.

The governor held out some hope for saving the program, announcing that he will try for seven more days to work out an agreement with legal advocates who have won several court decisions about the level of health care the state must provide to the 1.3 million TennCare enrollees.

Bredesen ran for governor two years ago with a promise to fix TennCare, whose $7.8 billion price tag was projected to mushroom in coming years, or to end it.
There had been efforts to curb the generous benefits of TennCare, a program that was a blueprint for John Kerry's health care plan. These efforts were thwarted by lawsuits filed by "patient advocates":
In the past, all TennCare participants had unlimited doctor visits and prescriptions. The stripped-down plan limited 270,000 of them to 12 doctor visits a year, 45 days in the hospital each year, eight outpatient hospital visits a year, 10 lab procedures or X-rays a year and six prescriptions a month.

Because of court challenges to the limited TennCare, Bredesen said, the only option would be to abandon it entirely unless the advocacy groups back off the challenges.

So, by fighting an effort to control costs and preserve the TennCare program, these lawsuits have served to eliminate the insurance coverage of 430,000 people. The floor-or-ceiling debate claims another casualty.
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